Confectionary maker Suehiroan is hoping these daifuku rice cakes decorated with a four-leaf clover will provide encouragement for students taking entrance exams!
It’s the start of entrance exam season in Japan, and students of various ages, from those entering junior high school to university, are now busy studying and preparing for the challenging tests. Understandably, students who are taking the competitive exams are more than eager to welcome any bit of luck, even in the form of supposedly lucky snacks, the best known example of which may be Kit Kats, which in Japanese sound similar to “Kitto katsu,” or “You’ll win/succeed for sure!”
But Kit Kats aren’t the only treats that may bring fortune to students this winter. Suehiroan, a maker of traditional Japanese confections with a history of close to 65 years, has come out with especially lucky daifuku rice cakes specifically designed for students taking entrance exams.
Typically, daifuku are round cakes made of glutinous mochi rice filled with sweet bean paste, but here, Suehiroan has created special cakes decorated with actual edible four-leaf clovers, that symbol of good luck. The cakes come in two flavors, one filled with a yuzu paste and the other with a sakura (cherry) paste. And the flavors each have a lucky meaning too. The yuzu flavor was chosen as a pun on the expression “yuzurenai”, which means you won’t give up on your goals, and the sakura flavor is a reference to the expression “sakura saku” (“the cherry trees are blooming”), which means that someone has passed an entrance exam.
Suehiroan wanted to create a confection to support students studying hard for the exams, so in addition to making the cakes “lucky” in many ways, they also added glucose to the daifuku to act as “fuel” for the brain and help improve concentration. Of course, they’ve also made sure that the cakes taste great, creating the fillings from a base of Suehiroan’s original sweet white bean paste, with the yuzu daifuku containing puréed yuzu citrus fruit plus a touch of lemon, and the sakura daifuku containing extract from actual salted sakura leaves and flowers. Plus, the colorful pastes make the cakes a delight to look at as well.
▼ The package illustration is full of lucky imagery too!
Actually, if we’re honest, the cakes look tasty enough to make us want to try them even if we’re not taking any exams, but we certainly hope they bring luck to the students who receive them. Here’s wishing that the cherry trees bloom for all the students out there!